Report: Vote on potential IndyCar road race at Indianapolis could be near

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Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles is expecting a vote from the company’s board on a potential 2014 road race for the IZOD IndyCar Series at Indianapolis Motor Speedway before the end of the month, according to Michael Marot of The Associated Press.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Graham Rahal and Panther Racing’s Ryan Briscoe tested earlier this month on various configurations of IMS’ 2.6-mile road course in order to provide series and Speedway officials with feedback on how to raise its on-track product.

Miles has said that should an IndyCar road race take place, the circuit – originally created for Formula One and now currently hosting the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and MotoGP – would undergo an upgrade.

The 2014 IZOD IndyCar Series calendar has yet to be fully revealed, although the Pirelli World Challenge recently announced that five of its 2014 events will be run in conjunction with the IndyCar contingent: St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Belle Isle/Detroit, Toronto and Mid-Ohio.

The potential addition of an IMS road race to the IndyCar schedule has met with mixed reaction but in his comments to the AP, Miles insisted that his focus remains wholly on the fans – both old and new.

“We care about all of our customers and about bringing in new customers,” Miles said. “This idea is part of a bigger plan to bring more people out here in May.”

Additionally, Miles indicated to the AP that there were “prospects” for title sponsors of the road race. Landing one of those would certainly please both IndyCar and IMS, which is seeking to increase revenue from its road-racing events.

Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to take pole position Saturday for the Formula One Austrian GP.

The Finnish driver edged out the world champion by 0.012 seconds to claim the top spot for the season opener at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. He clenched his fist as he climbed out of his car and shared a hug with Hamilton.

“It’s something special when you push the car to the limit,” said Bottas, who is chasing an eighth career win. “Feels so good. It’s very impressive (from the team).”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, and Lando Norris gave McLaren a boost by finishing fourth. Verstappen has won the past two years here, including 2019 when he started third behind Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“It’s going to be interesting quite a bit warmer tomorrow and hopefully this will play to our advantage,” Verstappen said. “Today, Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately. Last year we were also a little bit off in qualifying so I expect we will be a bit better in the race.”

Bottas had the leading time when drivers embarked on their final laps and beat his own mark before sliding off the track into the gravel.

Hamilton was chasing a record-extending 89th career pole. He was ahead but then dropped off slightly as Bottas secured a 12th career pole.

“Great job by Valtteri. It’s a great start to the season,” Hamilton said. “We show year on year that we continue to be the best team. We’re open-minded … constantly learning from each other and pushing the boundaries.”

Ferrari struggled for speed, with Leclerc nearly one second behind in seventh and Sebastian Vettel failing to make it into the third and final part of qualifying, known as Q3. He starts the race from 11th on the grid.

Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season with his future in F1 uncertain.

Earlier, Hamilton posted the fastest time in morning practice. The 35-year-old British driver was also quickest in both sessions on Friday.

Midway through third practice, F1 newcomer Nicholas Latifi misjudged the exit of a turn and spun his Williams car into a protective tire wall.